Panasonic GX8 Official Announcement & GH4/G7 Comparison

Short after the announcement of the Panasonic G7, the much anticipated Panasonic GX8 has arrived,  Before I jump into my thoughts, let’s jump straight into the specs:

  • 20.3MP Sensor, the first on Micro Four Thirds.
  • Dual I.S. system – “A combination of Lens Optical Image Stabilization and Body Image Stabilization, you can achieve consistently blur-free images even when shooting on-the-go.”
  • 4k Video

Full details in the Panasonic GX8 Press Release and more from DPReview. Additionally, one of my favorite YouTube Channels, TheCameraStoreTV has an exclusive hands-on video with the Panasonic GX8.

To see the latest price, the Panasonic GX8 is now available on Amazon.

Full resolution images available at Panasonic (click the image)
Full resolution images available at Panasonic (click the image)

Two New Lenses from Panasonic and Lytro-Like Post-Focus Technology

Two new lenses have also been announced, one a 25mm f1.7 prime, which I presume will be a more affordable option to the Panasonic-Leica 25mm f1.4 (though at $400 used, how much cheaper can you really go?). But also another Leica lens has been announced! Not a 135mm f/2 that I was hoping for, but a Leica DG 100-400mm f4-6.3 should appease many shooters who need a long telephoto lens.

DPReview has the scoop.

Oh and remember that tweet we put out a couple days ago with regards to Panasonic coming up with some Lytro-Like technology?

Well, unlike Lytro’s light field technology Panasonic’s ‘Post Focus’ is possible through 4k video capture and Panasonic’s DFD AF technology by shifting focus in a 30fps burst. Theoretically, this should produce higher resolution and sharper photos that the Lytro.

DPReview mentions, “A firmware update will be available for the newly-minted Panasonic Lumix GX8 and Lumix FZ300 ‘and some other models’ in late 2015 to enable Post Focus, according to the manufacturer.”

For more, here’s the press release from Panasonic.

Pros and Cons

Panasonic GX7 vs Panasonic GX8 – Pros and Cons 

  • Pros – The biggest improvements are listed above, the new 20.3MP sensor, Dual IS and 4k Video. And the addition of a mic input (though 2.5mm) appeases many video shooters.
  • Cons – There are drawbacks however, namely that it’s quite a bit larger than the GX7. And it also loses the in-camera flash, which removes the ability to use the little known bounce flash trick on the GX1 and GX7. One of my favorite features that I’m really sad to see go. And there will be no external flash packaged, like with the Olympus OM-D EM5 II (LM3 Flash).

Panasonic GX8 vs G7 vs GH4

  • The GX8 has the newest sensor, and the most MP count on Micro Four Thirds at 20.3MP.
  • The GX8 has Dual IS, neither the GH4 or G7 have IBIS, and must rely on OIS lenses.
  • The GH4 and GX8 have a magnesium alloy body, the G7 is plastic.
  • The GH4 and GX8 have weather sealing, the G7 doesn’t.
  • The GH4 and GX8 can do 1/8000 mechanical shutter, the G7 can only do 1/4000.
  • The GH4 and GX8 can do 1/250 flash sync, the G7 is only 1/160
  • The GH4 can do 7.5 FPS with C-AF, the GX8 and G7 can only do 6.
  • The GH4 can do 1080p 96 fps, the GX8 and G7 can only do 1080p 60 fps.

Early Reviews of the Panasonic GX8

My thoughts on the Panasonic GX8

I bought the Panasonic GF1 on launch day, the camera that brought me into Micro Four Thirds. And while the GF line continues today, we can argue that GX line evolved from the popular GF1. First with the popular GX1, then the GX7.

I went straight to the GX1, but then opted for the Olympus OM-D EM-5 over the GX7. I could have went either way, but ultimately I gave the slight nudge to the EM5.

But I’ve always thought about switching back. While Olympus certainly has its pros, there are a lot of little nuances as well. Such as using the “Golden Ratio” crop overlay vs the “Rule of Thirds.” I found the Panasonic controls and UI a lot more intuitive. And of course the bounce flash hack on the GX1 and GX7.

Now, I’ve been looking to upgrade for a while. First came the EM-5 II, but I wish it had 4k to pair along with the world class IBIS. Or at least a newer sensor. And since I rarely shoot on a tripod, the 40mp sensor shift tech is a little impractical for me.

Then came the Panasonic G7, offering an affordable alternative to the Panasonic GH4. If it had IBIS it would be game over, I’d be using it today.

Now here comes the king, the Panasonic GX8. But with the increase in size, and at $1200 for the body, I’ll wait for the reviews. I’d really like to see if the Dual IS can compare to Olympus 5-Axis IBIS. I’m also disappointed that you can’t use Dual IS for video, a feature Panasonic likely withheld to put into the GH5. Losing the in-camera flash is another bummer, as the bounce flash trick on the GX1/GX7 could be used to brighten up a photo a couple stops in most indoor situations. And at $1200, targeting the high-end market, I’d really like to see a battery grip like the each of the cameras in the OM-D lineup. Other than the obvious improvements to battery life, the 4:3 ratio is perfect for shooting portraits vertically, you already have a grip option with the GH series – why not the GX8? I also don’t think it looks as sleek as the redesigned G7, or the rival EM-5 II. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely think that the GX8 will find a market. But personally, I’d really like to see what the EM-1 II has to offer. But heck, don’t listen to me – read the reviews above!

What do you think of the Panasonic GX8?

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